28 November 2018
In this image from last spring, internally displaced Syrians wait in line for food at a camp outside Damascus. Pope Francis has written a letter to Franciscan friars in Syria, expressing his closeness to the "martyred land." (photo: CNS/Ali Hashisho, Reuters)
Pope expresses closeness to ‘martyred land of Syria’ (Vatican News) In a letter sent to Franciscan friars in Syria, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the “martyred land of Syria.” “I wish to share in your sufferings and tell you that I am close to you and to the Christian communities which are so tried by the pain experienced in their faith in Christ Jesus…”
Russia warns Ukraine of escalation (Vatican News) Russia’s security service has released controversial statements by three captured Ukrainians after Russian ships fired on also, seized three Ukrainian boats off the coast of Russian-annexed Crimea. One of the men, Volodymyr Lisovyi, said he was aware of the “provocative nature” of the Ukrainian action. Ukraine’s navy commander said the men had been forced to lie under duress…
Benedict affirms Christians are called to ‘dialogue’ with Jews (Vatican News) In a “correction” sent to the German monthly Herder Korrespondenz, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI affirmed that Christians are called to a “dialogue” with the Jews, rather than a “mission.” The Pope emeritus was responding to an article by theologian Michael Böhnke of Wuppertal. In the September issue of the journal, Böhnke had commented disapprovingly on statements made by Benedict concerning the relationship between Jews and Christians…
New study examines link between Kerala floods and climate change (The Wire) The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events in India appears to be on the rise, as projected by various scientific assessments on climate change. But it may not be right to connect every such event with climate change. This is what a new study on the recent Kerala floods highlights…
Ethiopia plans first census in a decade (Bloomberg) Ethiopia will hold its first population census in more than a decade, a step that could have far-reaching consequences for the Horn of Africa nation that’s grappling with multi-ethnic representation and rippling demands for self-determination…
27 November 2018
Tags: Syria Ethiopia Ukraine Kerala Jews
#GivingTuesday is an annual worldwide event encouraging charitable giving — and here at CNEWA, that means a chance to share with others the priceless gift of hope. (video: CNEWA)
Today is #GivingTuesday, a worldwide event now in its seventh year, created to encourage charitable donations during the holiday season.
Coming after the rush of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, today offers a chance for all of us to care for our brothers and sisters in some of the world’s most troubled places.
#GivingTuesday donations, among making many other small miracles possible, will help us:
Bring medical care for war-displaced families in Lebanon and Jordan
Offer nourishment for young drought victims in Ethiopia
Deliver meals, clothes, blankets and first aid kits for flood survivors in India
Rush winter clothes and milk for displaced Iraqi and Syrian kids for colder months ahead
Secure food and heating fuel for families and elderly in Armenia
Will you share this season’s peace, hope and joy with those that might otherwise have none? You can donate here.
Meanwhile, check out our #GivingTuesday video above, created by our interns from Regis High School here in New York City. Please share it with anyone who might want to know more about how to help!
If you aren’t able to give, we still hope you will connect with CNEWA by sharing this video on Facebook or Twitter, or by gifting someone with a subscription of our award-winning magazine, ONE.
27 November 2018
Workers decorate the Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on 26 November. The tree comes from the northern Italian region of Veneto. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
27 November 2018
Pope Francis welcomes members of the Maronite Foundation to the Vatican and expresses his gratitude for Lebanon accepting so many refugees. (photo: Vatican Media)
Ukraine declares martial law (NPR) Ukraine’s parliament has agreed to impose martial law in 10 of its provinces to combat “growing aggression from Russia,” after a weekend confrontation in waters off the disputed Crimean Peninsula led Russia to seize three Ukrainian navy vessels...
Report: Islamic extremism spreading with defeat of ISIS (CNS) The threat to religious freedom from Muslim fundamentalists is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon following the military defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said a new report…
Pope Francis thanks Lebanon for welcoming refugees (Vatican News) Pope Francis addressed the Maronite Foundation and a delegation of authorities from Lebanon. In brief remarks, Pope Francis jokingly compared the numerous groups of people visiting to the “multiplication of the loaves,” as they were more than he had anticipated…
Thousands of Syrian refugees remain trapped in no man’s land (The New Yorker) Rukban lies in a thirty-five-mile-wide internationally-recognized demilitarized zone created by the United States and Russia, though neither Washington nor Moscow takes responsibility for it. It is populated by Syrians who fled the violence of both the Bashar al-Assad regime and isis, and, until the recent delivery, the Syrian government had refused to allow aid convoys to pass through its territory to reach the camp…
Indian activist bemoans anti-Christian hostility (AsiaNews) In India “hostility against the Christian faith is increasing,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). Speaking to AsiaNews, he cited the latest two incidents to illustrate the anti-Christian trend in two separate states, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. In his view, the fact that the cases occurred on the same day is no coincidence but “a sign of the growing hostility”…
How Kerala tourism is on the road to recovery after flood (TheNewsMinute.com) It’s been over 100 days since the devastating floods hit Kerala, and caused heavy destruction to human lives and property across the state. Among the various sectors that were hit hard due to the deluge, was the tourism sector, which is the backbone of Kerala’s economy. But it was not just the floods that wreaked havoc in the state…
26 November 2018
Tags: Lebanon Ukraine Kerala ISIS
In the video above, Amir Maher tells about his decision to become a priest in Egypt.
(video: Roger Anis)
The current edition of ONE features a compelling profile of a seminarian in Egypt:
Amir Maher, 28, remembers when he first started to think seriously about entering religious life. It all started at a youth conference in Cairo in 2008, when the young man was still in college. Jesuit Father Henri Boulad was giving a talk.
“I don’t remember the topic,” Mr. Maher says today, “but I remember clearly my feeling at that moment: I felt that I wanted to be like this man.” Is it possible, he wondered, that he was called to be a priest?
He tried to put such thoughts out of his mind. He returned from the conference to Al Wasta, his town in Assiut, thinking that it was just a passing whim.
He now realizes, however, that it was something more.
“What happened that day was like a seed thrown into the earth, which then disappeared,” he says. “I went on in my life and forgot about it. But after a while the seed started to grow and the call became clearer.”
He adds: “I was trying to reject the idea, saying that it was just an outburst of youth. I was telling myself, ‘When I get a job and have money I will forget it.’ “
But he did not; the seed had taken root.
Check out the video above for a more personal glimpse at the life of this young man as he journeys toward the priesthood. And read more about Amir’s Choice in the September 2018 edition of ONE.
26 November 2018
Tags: Egypt Vocations (religious)
A clergyman carries a monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament during a procession on the Feast of Christ the King on 25 November in Ahmedabad, India. The feast of Christ the King is celebrated the Sunday prior to the beginning of Advent. (photo: CNS/Amit Dave, Reuters)
26 November 2018
Tags: India Indian Catholics
Tensions are mounting between Ukraine and Russia after Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels. (video: Sky News/YouTube)
Tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine; Ukraine to vote on declaring martial law (BBC) Russia has fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimean Peninsula in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries. Two gunboats and a tug were captured by Russian forces. A number of Ukrainian crew members were injured. Each country blames the other for the incident. On Monday Ukrainian MPs are due to vote on declaring martial law…
Pope recalls Ukraine famine (Vatican News) Following the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis remembered the man-made famine that struck Ukraine in 1932-1933 and the anniversary of the event which occurred on Saturday. Pope Francis called it “a terrible famine instigated by the Soviet regime which caused millions of people to die…”
Reports say dozens injured in toxic gas attack on Aleppo (CNN) Around 100 people were injured in toxic gas attack on the government-controlled city of Aleppo Saturday, according to Syrian state media and a British-based human rights group. It’s not clear who carried out the attack, but Syria’s state news agency quoted a local commander as blaming ‘terrorist groups,’ while Russia accused militants of firing mortar rounds containing chlorine on the city’s northwestern districts…
Franciscan custos calls attention to Holy Land Christians (CNS) Some Christians would consider it a blessing to live in the land where Jesus Christ was born and lived. But for some Christians who live with the daily reality and not the romanticism of the land where the faith originated, living as a religious minority in a place of conflict — often tied to religion — it is considered more of a “misfortune,” said the Rev. Francesco Patton, the head of the Holy Land Franciscans, also known as the custos, during a 7 November event in Washington…
Report: India ‘broke the internet’ to control information (UCANews.com) India leads the world in terms of choking cyberspace by shutting off access to the internet when controversial information, or misinformation, that risks fomenting unrest surfaces amid a rise in religion-based hate crime, raising concern about censorship among Catholic bishops and rights activists. A 12 November report on internet and digital media freedom in 65 countries by the U.S.-based non-profit Freedom House ranked India the worst offender after it blocked access to the web on at least 100 occasions this year alone…
19 November 2018
Tags: Syria India Ukraine Russia
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan and Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, chat during the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon meeting in Bkerke, Lebanon.
(photo: CNS photo/courtesy Mychel Akl for the Maronite patriarchate)
Lebanon’s Catholic religious leaders appealed to the international community to stop the wars in the Middle East and to bring about a comprehensive and just peace.
In a statement following its 12 — 16 November annual meeting, the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon urged Catholics “to endure the grace of God in the hope of rebuilding their homelands with their Muslim brothers in equal and responsible citizenship.”
The prelates expressed their “anguish at the continuation of the wars in the Middle East, which continue to destabilize the peace, wreak havoc, destroy and displace citizens.” Reiterating their condemnation “of violence in all its forms,” they called for constructive dialogue among officials.
The patriarchs and bishops appealed to “the international community and concerned states” to stop wars in the region and “to bring about a comprehensive and just peace and to work seriously for the return of displaced persons, refugees, abductees and deportees to their countries, homes and properties.”
Lebanon continues to host more than 1 million Syrian refugees.
In their statement, the church leaders affirmed the principles that have been proclaimed by Pope Francis regarding the Middle East: that peace is a condition for Christians to remain in their homelands; that there is no Middle East without Christians, who are a factor of equilibrium and stability in it; and that citizens have the duty to defend the rights of individuals and minorities.
Turning with urgency to the continuing impasse in forming Lebanon’s government more than five months after parliamentary elections, the prelates said it is unacceptable that the government still does not exist.
They urged all the political parties concerned to facilitate the formation of the government, “today before tomorrow.” They pointed to “the loss of mutual trust, the absence of internal unity and the tyranny of private interests, as well as external interference” as reasons for the deadlock.
They applauded “with all the Lebanese -- at home and abroad -- the historic reconciliation” of two rival Maronite Catholic political leaders after more than four decades of enmity. Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces political party, and Suleiman Frangieh Jr., head of the Marada party, have been foes since the early days of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.
Their formal reconciliation took place on 14 November under the patronage of Cardinal Bechara Rai at Bkerke, Maronite patriarch. The two Maronite leaders signed a document confirming their “joint will to turn the page of the past and move on toward new horizons” in their relations “at the human, social, political and national levels for the years to come.”
19 November 2018
Tags: Lebanon Middle East
Pope Francis eats lunch with poor people as he marks World Day of the Poor at the Vatican on 18 November. Some 1,500 people joined the pope for lunch in Paul VI hall. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis has lunch with the poor (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Sunday joined about 1,500 poor people and a group of volunteers for lunch to mark the World Day of the Poor. After Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, during which he urged believers to heed the cry of the poor and said that “the cry of the poor daily becomes stronger but heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and more rich”, the Pope addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, and then went to a beautifully decked out Paul VI Hall and took his seat at the main table…
Syrian army advances against ISIS in southeastern desert (Reuters) Hundreds of Islamic State militants withdrew from the heart of a rugged area in southeastern Syria after holding up for over three months against a major campaign by the Syrian army and its allies to crush them, rebels and residents said on Sunday…
The women smashing Ethiopia’s glass ceiling (BBC) Ethiopia is changing rapidly under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, with women now wielding enormous power in a country where they have mostly been confined to traditional roles, writes BBC Tigrinya’s Hana Zeratsyon. Ethiopians like to say they were ruled by Queen Sheba in biblical times — something they take great pride in, yet the reality is that the Horn of Africa state is a deeply male-dominated society…
Russian Orthodox Church to continue humanitarian projects in Syria (TASS) Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion, and Patriarch John X of Antioch met in Damascus and discussed further cooperation between the churches in the humanitarian and charity sphere, the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations said on Sunday. ”Patriarch John told about the current situation in his country and thanked the Russian Orthodox Church for its assistance to those hurt in the warfare in Syria. They also discussed a wide range of issues of inter-church relations and prospects for further cooperation in rendering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people,” it said…
Cyclone kills dozens in southern India (UCANews) A cyclone killed more than 40 people and displaced hundreds of others at the weekend as it tore a destructive path across southern India, severely damaging farmland and buildings including the region’s most revered Marian shrine. Catholic Church agencies have joined Tamil Nadu state government in relief efforts to help people affected by Cyclone Gaja in Thanjavur Diocese and Pondicherry-Cuddalore Archdiocese...
Vatican urges Christians and Sikhs to ‘promote a culture of tenderness’ (Vatican News) The Vatican is urging Christians and Sikhs to join hands to ”promote a ‘culture of tenderness’ for the wellbeing of every human being and for the welfare of the entire created world!” The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) made the call in its message on the occasion of Sri Guru Nanak Prakash Diwas, or Guru Nanak Jayanti, the birthday of Guru Nanak, the first guru and founder of the Sikh religion. A national holiday in India, it will be celebrated on 23 November this year...
16 November 2018
Tags: India Pope Francis Ethiopia Russian Orthodox
Pope Francis greets a woman religious as he makes a surprise visit to a free health clinic for the needy in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on 16 November. The clinic was open for a week in advance of the 18 November observance of World Day for the Poor.
(photo: CNS/Junno Arocho Esteves)
Tags: Pope Francis